As the Baby Boomer generation turns 65 this year, it’s easy to see why so much attention is being paid to getting older. When some people reach a certain age, they retire. Others keep working like 87-year old Judge Betty Fletcher who is one of several “Senior judges keeping 9th Circuit courthouses open.”
And then there are those who say that “After 100 years old, it’s all “crap,” and turn curmudgeonly.
Still others get fearfully depressed and find their ‘misery loves company’ mission in popping what they perceive as the delusional Baby Boomer bubble embodied in “the new old age,” which means that the 60-plus generation can still have it all.
In other words, “people in their sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond” are buying into the media marketing message of enjoying “the kind of rich, full, healthy, adventurous, sexy, ﬁnancially secure lives that their ancestors could never have imagined.” But some prefer to disabuse Boomers of that promising notion such as in 65-year old author Susan Jacoby’s just published gloomy, pessimistic if pragmatic book, they’ll supposedly “Never Say Die.”
Centenarian bicycle riding.
And then there’s my personal favorite, Octavio Orduño, who up until 3 years ago, was still driving his car. He celebrated his 103rd birthday this past Monday doing what he’s been regularly doing for almost 40 years – - – riding his bicycle, which is his preferred mode of transport.
His only concession to age now is that instead of biking around his Long Beach, California neighborhood on two wheels, he’s riding around on three. According to The Los Angeles Times, “At 103, he’s a three-wheeled wonder.”
He’s had his share of scrapes and falls off his bicycle. But despite those mishaps, the retired aerospace mechanic remains undeterred and rides almost every day. And he adamantly refuses to listen to his wife, Alicia, who gets on him for not wearing his glasses while riding. In spite of or because of being married to Alicia for now 60 years, Orduño ignores her about the eyeglasses. He also adds that he has no plans of giving up his three-wheel bicycle riding.
Far as I know, he’s yet to grace the Willard Scott Birthdays where they’d doubtless mention his bicycling and “his usual dinner of beans, brown rice and vegetables” to explain his longevity. But all things considered, Orduño’s got the best attitude about getting old.
He’s not as T.S. Eliot wrote, measuring his “life out in coffee spoons,” weighing how much time he has left.
I’m not sure if he knows this or not but as he pedals along, he’s testament to one of Satchel Paige’s most enduring of the “Rules For Staying Young,” which is, “And don’t look back—something might be gaining on you.”